Into the Abyss

Synopsis: Into the abyss explores a triple murder which occurred in the small Texas City of Conroe in 2001. Michael Perry and Jason Burkett, under the influence of alcohol and drugs, murdered a middle-aged housewife; they then gunned down her stepson and his friend. The film features Conversations with the two inmates and those affected by their crime. Unlike many of the films that deal with crimes, into the abyss isn't concerned with figuring out exactly what happened, but rather serves as an examination of why people - and the state - kill.
Director(s): Werner Herzog
Production: IFC Films
  2 wins & 13 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
107 min

- Reverend,

you're on duty today.

Can you think...

just think about the man

whom you are going to encounter

in an hour from now,

less than an hour from now.

- I really am going there

without any expectations.

I'm going there to experience

what God has prepared for me,

for him,

for all of those involved,

and I don't

preconceive anything.

Not today.

I will let that happen

as it occurs,

as time gets there.

We have a loving, caring,

forgiving, merciful God,

and in time of joy

and in time of need,

in time of trial

or tribulation,

God is always there for us.

I want to make

that presence to them.

- And technically when he is

led to the gurney,

what is your duty then?

- After everything

is completed,

as far as the preparation,

then I walk over, and I stand

as he has allowed me to stand.

I always ask permission

to be able to stand at his feet

and hold his ankle,

and I move toward

that position,

and I place my hand

on his ankle,

and then that's what...

what I do

until death occurs.

- And if there is

no family interested

in taking care of the body,

the condemned men would end up

right behind you?

- Yes, they end up here

at the state cemetery,

and they're buried

by the state.

No names on the crosses,

only numbers.

- Why does God allow

capital punishment?

- I don't know the answer.

I believe that

there's always a purpose

why God allows

things to happen.

God has created so many things

in this world.

I play golf sometimes.

I love to be on

the golf course,

because one thing I do,

I put my phone on a silent mode.

I go out there sometimes

by myself with no distractions,

and I can see

the beautiful grass.

I can see the squirrels,

from time to time, running.

Sometimes the deer are running.

Sometimes I look across

the golf course,

and I see a cow or a horse,

and... and I... and I stop,

and I acknowledge life.


the things

that God has created.

- Please describe

an encounter with a squirrel.

- An encounter with a squirrel,

I was driving the golf cart,

and I was on the golf...

on the cart path,

and I saw two squirrels.

They were chasing each other,

and as I was getting closer,

they were running across

the cart path,

and I put on my brakes,

and they stopped in

the middle of the cart path

and looked at me,

and I said, "How about this?"

"If I wouldn't have stopped,

"I could have run over

one of these squirrels.

Their life would have ended."

And that reminds me...

of the many people

that I have been with

in their last breath of life,

and due to bad choices and

mistakes in their life, they...

their life is taken away

in that moment.

So life is precious,

whether it's a squirrel

or a human being.

So I will sometimes meditate

on that experience.

Make a little noise,

and the squirrels will take off

and continue their life,

but I cannot do that.

For someone on the gurney,

I cannot stop the process

for them.

But I wish I could.

- Good, yeah.

You are not wired yet,

so we have to wire you first.

Michael Perry,

now from all of us,

the whole team here,

we would like to offer

our condolences.

Your father passed away.

- Right, on the 10th.

My dad died 13 days ago.

- 13 days ago.

- Yeah, on June 10th.

- But you will die or you are

scheduled for execution...

- Right.

- In only eight days.

- Yes, sir.

- How are you doing?

- You know... you know,

I'm a Christian, so, you know,

I believe that, you know,

paradise awaits

one way or the other,

so I tell people all the time,

I'm either going home

or home, so...

I'm either going home

to the world or home to God,

so I... you know,

as the days get closer,

I can feel the pressure

on my shoulders.

They call it clinical depression

where I just start having

less motivation to do things,

less energy.

You get frustrated at the...

at the system.

How can they not see, you know,

my situation is wrong?

You know, I... I used to

write all the time

and have a lot of energy,

and I just don't

have it any more.

I just feel like

I've been beaten down.

- I have the feeling

that destiny, in a way,

has dealt you

a very bad deck of cards.

It does not exonerate you,

and... and when I talk to you,

it does not necessarily mean

that I have to like you,

but I respect you,

and you are a human being,

and I think human beings

should not be executed.

- Mm-hmm.

- As simply as that.

- Right.

- Lieutenant, this looks

idyllic and safe.

- Well, and you would

think that.

This is a gated community,


The houses that are out here

are very large houses,

very expensive houses,

and you would think

that this is...

this is a very quiet area,

and you would, I guess,

associate that with security.

But this house right here

is actually the house

where Sandra Stotler

was murdered.

This is where Michael Perry

and Jason Burkett

parked out on the street

and went in and...

and murdered her.

At the time that we found her,

she was actually

baking cookies,

and there was evidence of that.

There was... there was

cookies out.

There was cookie dough out.

So she was in the process

of that when she was killed.

- But apparently

the first plan was not murder.

- Well, and that was something

that we were told,

that initially the...

the boys were all...

when I say "boys,"

Michael Perry, Jason Burkett,

Adam Stotler,

and Jeremy Richardson...

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Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog (German: [ˈvɛɐ̯nɐ ˈhɛɐ̯tsoːk]; born 5 September 1942) is a German screenwriter, film director, author, actor, and opera director. Herzog is a figure of the New German Cinema, along with Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Margarethe von Trotta, Volker Schlöndorff, Werner Schröter, and Wim Wenders. Herzog's films often feature ambitious protagonists with impossible dreams, people with unique talents in obscure fields, or individuals who are in conflict with nature.French filmmaker François Truffaut once called Herzog "the most important film director alive." American film critic Roger Ebert said that Herzog "has never created a single film that is compromised, shameful, made for pragmatic reasons, or uninteresting. Even his failures are spectacular." He was named one of the world's 100 most influential people by Time magazine in 2009. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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